The progress world football has made today has no doubt been anchored on the increased awareness of the sports marketing potentials, seeing that it easily catches the fancy of a broad spectrum of the global audience. This marketability and vast financial possibilities easily make a football game the biggest window to sell any product, goods or services. The big money available in football is such that the players-footballers, coaches, administrators, backroom staff etc. have access to an audience gullible enough to absorb their talent, flair, skill, or even eccentricities.
So, it is right to say that Footballers now command a huge influence on football lovers, with many fans idolizing their favourite players, as well as copying their lifestyles all around the world. It is no surprise to see Cristiano Ronaldo amassing over 315 Million followership on 3 social media platforms when compared to the most powerful leader in the World, US President, Donald Trump, who has meagre 80 million followers.
By imitating football stars, millions of people around the world now wear a tattoo just like the footballers they copy in order to belong. As a matter of fact, tattoos have now become synonymous to hooliganism and cultism.
Footballers have now broken the tattoo barriers by dumping the stigma hitherto associated with it. Often times, these stars now use tattoos to pass a message or symbolize important events happening in their lives.
Below are the top 5 Tattoo riddled football stars;
1. Dani Alves: Having won league titles with Barcelona, Juventus, PSG, and several other European laurels with the Sevilla and Catalan giants, Barcelona, Alves is one of the most decorated footballers in the world. The Brazilian defender displayed the importance of life and family by wearing tattoos on his body.
Alves has the name and birth date of his children- Daniel Jr. on his chest and Victoria on his pelvis. He also has his mothers’ face on his shoulder and his fathers’ name vertically written on left chest. The 34 years old PSG defender has “Smile-Love-Live” insignia on his neck which encapsulates his basic life principles.
2. Arturo Vidal: Vidal is one of the most tattooed players in the German Bundesliga. The Chilean depicted his Catholic background with his rosary painting on his left wrist, and a spider tattoo on his right arm- stating his role as a midfield stopper.
On the right side of his belly, Vidal has a tattoo showing a horse with a jockey, because of his love for horses, he also has an inscription of “Alonsito and Artunito” which are the nicknames of his son, Alonso and his nephew Arturo.
The Bayern Munich midfielder has a “cross” tattoo on his neck, his mum’s picture on his right upper arm and an insulin box beside his belly button, in solidarity with his son Alonso, who has a type 1 diabetes.
3. Neymar Jr: In terms of tattooing, the PSG forward is among the few Brazilian footballers who can contend with Dani Alves in tattooing. The former Barcelona player has three flying birds together with a “blessed” inscription on his back. He recently did a UCL Cup tattoo in anticipation of PSG tie with Real Madrid. Neymar has a conspicuous tiger head tattoo on his left hand amongst many other tattoos.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimović: Ibra is perhaps the most notoriously tattooed player in the world. Ibrahimović has the insignia of various types all over his body. His tattoos cannot be counted. A picture will you tell you all the story.
5. Lionel Messi: One of football’s greatest of all time players, Lionel Messi wears tattoos on his left arm and right leg. The Argentine Captain has a picture of Jesus Christ on his upper left arm and his number 10 trademark insignia on his right leg.
Players like Raheem Sterling, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo are also known to be great fans of tattoos. Many football stars are known to wear tattoos, most times they want to use these tattoos to pass a message or symbolize their priorities.